Category Archives: Canberra

FRUGII Dessert Laboratory: ice-cream, sorbet and more

Location: 30 Lonsdale street Braddon 2612

Opening hours: Wed – Sun (12pm – 11pm)

Website: http://www.frugii.com/

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Being a lover of all things salted caramel, I knew I had to try Frugii’s salted butter caramel ice-cream. I cannot believe I’m actually saying this but I actually prefer salted butter caramel over salted caramel. The ice-cream itself was velvety smooth and the flavour was perfectly balanced with just the right amount of caramel sweetness and buttery saltiness.

salted butter caramel ice-cream & cardamom spice ice-cream

salted butter caramel ice-cream & cardamom spice ice-cream

My second scoop of ice-cream was cardamom spice. For all those chai lovers, this is the flavour for you! Once again, the consistency of the ice-cream was deliciously smooth and creamy with a real cardamom kick to it.

choux pastry filled with earl grey custard and lemon syrup

choux pastry filled with earl grey custard and lemon syrup

Being the greedy little pig that I am, I also decided to taste test their earl grey choux pastry with lemon injected syrup. The choux pastry was light and buttery and the custard had a strong earl grey flavour to it that paired deliciously well with the the lemon syrup.

Final thoughts: What can I say? I think I may be in love. BEST ICE-CREAM EVER.

Customer service: 9/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 9/10

Frugii Dessert Laboratory on Urbanspoon

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Braddon Food Trucks

Location: 16 Lonsdale Street Braddon ACT 2612

Late last year a bunch of food trucks set up stall in Braddon. When I first arrived at location, it reminded me a lot of a caravan park. I loved the outdoor layout and all the different foods I can test and trial in close proximity of each other.

Note: this will not be a ‘fructose-free’ review. It is difficult for food trucks to cater for individual dietary needs as it is technically pre-made gourmet fast food.

Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to try all the food trucks. I had already been to Broddog (see review) so I decided to try the following food trucks: Mr. Papa, Spitshack and April’s Caravan.

FOODTRUCK 1: Mr. Papa

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Chicken wings with chimichurri dipping sauce

Mr. Papa: chicken wings with chimichurri dipping sauce

The chicken wings were seasoned well but were overcooked and dry. The chimichurri dipping sauce was the saving grace of the dish. It had a nice tanginess and made the chicken not as dry on the palette. I wish there was more sauce as it really wasn’t enough for the 6 chicken wings.

Mr. Papa: chicken empanada

Mr. Papa: chicken empanada

Another disappointing dish – The empanada was made out of corn bread which was nice and soft but there was hardly any chicken filling.

Food rating: 3/10

Mr. Papa on Urbanspoon

FOOD TRUCK 2: April’s Caravan

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The lemonade was very refreshing for a hot summers day. It definitely tasted like the homemade lemonade that I used to drink back in primary school days.

April's Caravan: old fashioned lemonade

April’s Caravan: old fashioned lemonade

Drink rating: 8/10

April's Caravan on Urbanspoon

FOOD TRUCK 3: Spitshack

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I ordered the lamb roll with gravy and mint sauce. The lamb was tender and flavoursome but it definitely wasn’t a high quality cut and there was a lot of fat on the meat. I also wished they offered other bread roll option besides white bread.

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Overall, my lamb roll was tasty. I like how customers can personalize their roll by choosing the meat, sauce and extras; and I would return to Spitshack to try out other roll combinations.

Food rating: 7/10

Spit Shack on Urbanspoon

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Final thoughts: Loved the food truck scene but they need to pick up their game on the quality of food served.

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Les Bistronomes

Location: Shop 8 / 36 Mort St, Braddon 2612 ACT

Opening hours: Tues – Sat (Lunch: 12pm – 2pm; Dinner: 6pm – 9:30pm)

Phone: (02) 6248 8119

Website: http://www.lesbistronomes.net

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So the other night we decided to spoil ourselves by fancying-it-up with some French cuisine. I’ve dined at many ‘french-inspired’ restaurants but never a restaurant that serves straight-up traditional French dishes; hence my excitement when Les Bistronomes joined the Braddon food scene. I was also super excited to try their Gordon Ramsay inspired beef wellington. I cannot use words to explain how desperately I have wanted to try Gordon Ramsay’s beef wellington and to find out that this opportunity has finally arrived…and in all places Canberra(?!); I was absolutely delighted!

Now let’s get back to that evening’s meal …

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home-made bread & tomato flavour butter

The butter was like whipped cream with a nice subtle tomato flavour to it.

Entrée: snails & pork loin

Entrée: garlic snails & pork loin

They were unable to make this dish fructose-free. The combination of snail and pork loin surprisingly meshed well together, the snail had a nice bite and the pork was soft and juicy. The combination of the different textures were surprisingly compatible. I expected this dish to be quite heavy, but the parsley jus had a light and refreshing flavour which lifted the entire dish.

Entree: duck liver pâté

Entrée: duck liver pâté

I just wanted to quickly acknowledge the gorgeous presentation of this entrée. The waiter even positioned the candle for me to take this photo!

This was a complimentary entrée due to the long wait between our entrée and mains. I’m not a big fan of pâté as I find it too rich, but I did enjoy this entrée. The pâté had a layer of cranberry jelly that cut through the richness, while the sweetness melded well with the strong pâté flavour.

Main: Duck à l'Orange

Main: Duck à l’Orange

I absolutely loved this main and really did not want to share it with anyone. The duck was cooked perfectly (see that beautiful pink colour) and the duck skin was rendered well. The duck was served with an orange puree, orange wedges, burnt orange glaze and liquorice paste. Everything just went together so beautifully and was not overly rich either. Being a liquorice hater, I was worried it would ruin the dish for me; but the combination of liquorice and orange created a nice woody flavour and balanced out the sweetness. Honestly this dish was close to perfection, the only slight letdown was the cabbage which was just abit too sweet for me.

Main: Beef Wellington, mushroom duxelle, foie gras & red wine jus

Main: Beef Wellington, mushroom duxelle, foie gras & red wine jus

Although there was abit of a wait for the beef wellington, it was DEFINITELY worth it! Please note that you have to pre-order this dish. Beef was of high quality, cooked to medium rare and was a ‘melt-in-your mouth’ experience. The beef was covered in a mushroom duxelle & foie gras crust. It had a unique nutty flavour that did not overpower the beef. The outer pastry reminded me of puff pastry which was deliciously buttery and flaky.

Side dishes: Frites (Chips) + Petit pois a la Française (French Peas & lardons)

Side dishes: Frites (Chips) + Petit pois a la Française (French Peas & lardons)

Dessert: vanilla bean crème brulee

Dessert: vanilla bean crème brûlée

I loved the flaming presentation of the crème brulee! The crème brulee was the perfect example of simplicity done well. Creamy velvety smooth with strong vanilla bean flavour. However none of us were a fan of the berry friand.

Dessert: strawberry mousse

Dessert: strawberry mousse

This dessert reminded me of a field strawberries.

Dessert: passionfruit soufflé & chili

Dessert: passionfruit soufflé & chili

There is an art to eating this dessert – firstly crack the white chocolate ball to release the chilli passionfruit syrup, then prep your tastebuds with the syrup, followed by eating the chilli-coconut ice-cream and then the passionfruit soufflé. I’m usually not a fan of chilli desserts but I absolutely loved this one! When you take a mouthful of this dessert, you get a hit from the passionfruit followed by the heat from the chilli. The heat from the chilli was quite muted which really elevated the passionfruit flavour. It was just so unique.

Final thoughts: My favourite savoury dish was the duck a l’orange and favourite dessert was the passionfruit soufflé. This was by far the best dining experience in Canberra.

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 10/10

Food: 10/10

Value for money: 10/10

Les Bistronomes on Urbanspoon

Wood & Coal

Location: 125 Bunda Street, Canberra Centre, Canberra City ACT 2601

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday (12pm – late)

Phone: (02) 6162 0055

Website: http://www.woodandcoal.com.au

Wandering around civic on a Saturday night looking for a place for dinner seems almost impossible these days. With no reservations, Wood & Coal was the only restaurant that could accommodate our group of 3. No tables were available so we were seated at the bar.

Although eating at the bar was not the most comfortable dining experience, I did enjoy the view of the elegant décor and the view of the spit roasts cooking away.

DSC00501Wood & Coal specializes in spit roasts so I was eager to try one of their roast meats. Once notifying the kitchen of my fructose intolerance, I was quickly informed that all spit roasts were out of the question and that most (if not all) dishes contained some form of onion or garlic. The staff were quite apologetic and did say that they would have been able to accommodate my dietary needs if I ordered my meal in advance so they could make the necessary adjustments.

Due to my limited options, I went with hot chips and dessert.

My fructose-free dishes:

Chips, feta, oregano oil ($10)

Chips, feta, oregano oil ($10)

The chips had a nice crunch and was well-seasoned; but I would have preferred more feta rather than the sparse dollop here and there. ‘L’ noted that she preferred my home-made feta chips. (=P!!)

Olive oil sponge cake, blood orange custard, red velvet cheesecake ice-cream, olive soil ($18)

Olive oil sponge cake, blood orange custard, red velvet cheesecake ice-cream, olive soil ($18)

The description of the dessert was rather deceiving. Don’t get me wrong, the dessert was nice but not what I expected. The cake itself was a citrus orange & dessicated coconut sponge cake, the blood orange custard was more of a lemon curd, and the red velvet cheesecake ice-cream tasted like buttermilk and was more of a custard consistency. In general, I enjoyed my dessert, the sponge cake had a bold citrus flavor and I loved the sweetness from the dessicated coconut. However the red velvet ice-cream ruined the dish for me, as it tasted like off milk and had a grainy texture to it.

“L” dish:

Calamari, tomato, green goddess dressing, bacon, yuzu mayo ($17)

Calamari, tomato, green goddess dressing, bacon, yuzu mayo ($17)

‘L’ review:

” The calamari were done well and the yuzu mayo added a nice kick to the dish. My only issue was that it wasn’t really a salad due to the lack of greens and veggies, which would have been a nice addition in cutting  through the oiliness of the fried calamari.”

‘Z’ dish:

Zucchini, fritters, grilled haloumi, shriveled tomato, lemon jam, rice cracker ($16)

Zucchini, fritters, grilled haloumi, shriveled tomato, lemon jam, rice cracker ($16)

‘Z’ review:

“So for our trip to Wood and Coal I ordered the zucchini fritters that came with goats curd and lemon jam. The fritters were cooked really well; there were a couple that were slightly burnt but I enjoyed the additional crispiness that comes with deep-frying something to the extreme. The goats curd worked well in cutting through the greasiness of the fritters. I found that the lemon jam didn’t really contribute much to the balance and could have been replaced by something that added fresh acidity to help counter the richness of the dish (possibly fresh tomatoes or capsicum?).”

Final thoughts: In general we all enjoyed our meal but there is definitely room for improvement. I am interested in trying their spit roasts and seeing whether they can accommodate my restrictive dietary requirements.

First impression: 8/10

Customer services: 7/10

Food: 5.5/10

Value for money: 5/10

Wood & Coal on Urbanspoon

Up 2 You

Location: 114 Emu Bank, Belconnen, ACT, 2617

Opening hours: Mon – Thurs (11am – 2am); Fri – Sat (11am – late); Sun (11am – 12am)

Phone: (02) 6253 0440

On a nice spring day ‘K’ and I went to ‘up 2 you’ for lunch. ‘Up to you’ is a hidden gem behind the strip of restaurants along Emu Bank. ‘Up to you’ serves authentic hong kong style dishes, which includes hot pot (all-you-can eat for $25), asian bbq meats, and cantonese clay pot rice (what I will be reviewing today).

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‘Up 2 you’ serves traditional claypot rice that can be found at any hawker store on the streets of Hong Kong. For those who are fructose intolerant, there are 2 claypot options ‘steamed beef & poached egg’ and ‘steamed chicken & salted fish’. I ordered the latter. We waited for around 20 minutes for our claypots to arrive. This is generally how long it takes if you want the authentic flavours that can only be achieved when this dish is cooked in a claypot rather than a rice cooker.

Steamed Chicken & Salted Fish with Cantonese Claypot Rice (the original claypot is served with fried shallots) - $13.80

Steamed Chicken & Salted Fish with Cantonese Claypot Rice (the original dish is served with fried shallots) – $13.80

The steamed chicken & salted fish claypot rice was flavoursome without detracting from the overall smokiness of claypot dishes. I was over the moon to find my beloved layer of crispy rice at the bottom of the clay pot (which had just the right amount of crunch!). My only criticism was the large pieces of salted fish, as it was too salty when eaten in one mouthful.

Final thoughts: I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the authenticity of the claypot rice and is probably one of the best I’ve had in Australia.

First impression: 7/10

Customer service: 8/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 8/10

Up 2 U Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sage Dining Rooms: Taste & Test Menu

Location: Gorman House Arts Centre/Batman St, Braddon ACT 2612

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday (Lunch: 12pm – 2pm; Dinner: 5:30pm – 10pm)

Phone: (02) 6249 6050

Website: http://www.sagerestaurant.net.au

A couple of months ago I had an amazing dinner experience at Sage, so I was super excited to hear about their Taste & test menu. In spring each year, Sage provides diners the opportunity to ‘taste and test’ dishes that may feature in next season’s menu. This is a great opportunity of the chef to experiment new flavours and receive feedback on these dishes.

When we arrived the restaurant was bustling. Once seated, our waiter gave us a rundown on how the Taste & test menu scoring system worked. Each person was given a score card and each dish was to be scored out of 10.

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Dish 1: Hawaiian sashimi with fried vermicelli

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A nice refreshing way to start the night off! I liked the mix of salmon and kingfish sashimi, and the extra ‘taste of the sea’ pop of fish roe. I would have preferred if the fried vermicelli had more of a chilli kick to it.

Dish 2: Corn soup with tempura prawns

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In general, everyone felt that the corn soup was overly sweet and the sauerkraut was too strong. It was unappetising to eat each component separately; however when eaten together in one mouthful, it was amazing.

Dish 2 (fructose-free): Pea & mint risotto with parmesan cheese shavings

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I was pretty devastated when my fructose-free dish was placed in front of me. Let’s be honest, it did not look appetizing at all (kinda reminded me of vomit). Even though I hate legumes with a passion and I’ve never been a fan of risotto, this dish blew my mind. The pea puree was silky smooth and I loved the subtle hints of mint flavour with each delicious mouthful. Although it was a very saucy dish, the risotto still maintained a nice bite and was not soggy at all.

Dish 3: Pork Belly with port vinegar with a side of savoy cabbage

(sorry forgot to take a photo of this dish!)

I liked the sweet port vinegar glazed pork belly which went well with the sour savoy cabbage. Unfortunately the pork belly skin was quite chewy, making it difficult to digest.

“Z” dish (vegetarian): Jasmine-infused radish with a side of savoy cabbage

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“Z” commented that the daikon was flavoursome. “L” tried it and preferred this vegetarian dish over her pork belly dish.

Dish 4: Braised lamb neck with quinoa tabouleh, mustard crisp, eggplant puree & goats curd

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Dish 4 (fructose-free): Pan seared lamb with quinoa tabouleh, mustard crisp, eggplant puree & goats curd

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We all agreed that the meat was flavoursome and cooked well. Unfortunately the eggplant puree left an unpleasant after-taste.

Dish 5: Raspberry and passionfruit mousse with white chocolate snow and coconut & mint ice-cream

DSC00468I loved the summery theme of this dessert! This was a multi-layer raspberry mousse scroll with a passionfruit cream centre, layer of raspberry mousse, finished off with a thin wrap of raspberry jelly. This heavenly sweetness sat on top of a vanilla sponge bed. The coconut & mint ice-cream was refreshing and went really well with the mousse scroll. Each component of the dessert tantalised my tastebuds.

Final thoughts: As always, a lovely dining experience with nice ambience, delicious food, and delightful company. Slight disappointment that the chef decided to serve a pork belly dish and a lamb neck dish again, seeing as it featured in last season’s menu.

First impression: 8/10

Customer service: 8/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 8/10

Sage Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Brodburger

Location: 11 Wentworth Avenue Kingston ACT 2603

Opening hours: Tues – Sat (11.30am – 3pm; 5.30pm – late); Sun (12pm – 4pm)

Phone: (02) 6162 0793

Website: http://www.brodburger.com.au

The infamous Brodburger!

Everyone knows that Brodburger serves the best burgers in Canberra. Everyone who has left Canberra repeatedly tell me that Brodburger is the one thing they miss the most about this city.

On this sunny long weekend ‘Z’ and I ventured to Kingston for some fresh air, sunshine & burgers *drooL*!!

‘Z’ ordered the Brodburger:

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Brodburger: ½ pound flame grilled beef patty, fresh lettuce, tomatoes & spanish onions. Includes homemade aioli & tomato relish ($13.50)

Her verdict:

“The meat was cooked really well in that it was still slightly pink in the middle. The garlic aioli worked well with the red onions and I liked that the bun was crusty on the outside but soft enough in the middle that towards the end it soaked up all the sauce. I think my only criticism was maybe a bit less aioli next time?”

I ordered a fructose-free BrodSalmon:

BrodSalmon: Grilled Salmon fillet with fresh lettuce, tomato & topped with swiss cheese ($14.90)

BrodSalmon: Grilled salmon fillet with fresh lettuce, tomato & topped with swiss cheese ($16.10)

My Verdict:

“The salmon was grilled perfectly with crispy salmon skin. There really was no need for aioli and relish (which comes in the original version of the burger) as the salmon itself was already quite rich. The layer of melted swiss cheese was a nice substitute for the aioli. I also like the fact that Brodburger has not followed the trend of serving burgers in brioche buns. This is a classic burger at its best.”

Final thoughts: The burgers were massive and as droolworthy as they were, I could not finish it. Oh, did I mention they make awesome fries too!

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 10/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 10/10

Brodburger on Urbanspoon

Monster Kitchen and Bar

Location: Hotel Hotel – 25 Edinburgh Ave Canberra

Opening hours: 6.30am – 1am every day

Phone: (02) 6287 6287

Website: http://www.hotel-hotel.com.au/eat-and-drink/monster/

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I have been contemplating for awhile as to whether to review my dinner experience at Monster Kitchen & Bar. This was because I had a very different dining experience to everyone else.

Monster Kitchen & Bar’s menu is designed for sharing so I felt that it was the perfect place for “K’s” birthday bash.

Once the group was seated, the waiter explained the “Monster Kitchen & bar” ordering method, recommending the number of dishes we should order to gain the best possible dining experience. Unfortunately this did not work out with such a big group as everyone wanted to try different dishes. The waiter kept on insisting that we order shared dishes that by the time everyone decided on what dishes to share, their dining experience was already ruined.

Lucky for me, due to my fructose intolerance, the waiter ‘allowed’ me to order my own dishes.

I think the kitchen was going for a French-Japanese / French-Korean fusion theme with my dishes.

Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame ($18)

Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame ($18)

The eggplant dish: The eggplant had an intense smoky miso flavour. When eaten in combination with the goat’s curd, the creamy texture of the curd smoothed out the strong miso flavour. It was a really interesting play on textures and flavours.

Dutton Park duck breast, heirloom carrots roasted in duck fat, kimchi and horseradish crème ($28)

Dutton Park duck breast, heirloom carrots roasted in duck fat, kimchi and horseradish crème ($28)

The duck breast dish: When the waiter informed me of their fructose-free house-made kimchi cucumber, I was super excited as I have been missing Korean food since I’ve started on my fructose-free diet. The duck breast was cooked perfectly with the fat rendered down and pink in the middle. When eaten in combination with the kimchi cucumber and horseradish crème, it was divine.

I was one happy fatty bunny that night!

Final thoughts: I had a wonder dining experience and I found the combination of flavours very interesting. BUT the rest of the group did not particularly enjoy their meal and left still feeling hungry.

First impression: 4/10

Customer service: 4/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 4/10

Monster Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters

Location: 39 Benjamin Way, Belconnen, ACT 2616

Opening hours: Mon – Fri (7.00am – 3.00pm); Sat (8.00am – 1.00pm)

Website: https://www.facebook.com/remedybylonsdalestroastersbelconnen

To celebrate the end of the week, a bunch of us went to have lunch at ‘Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters’.

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Remedy has been open for around 2 weeks so their menu is still quite limited. Unfortunately they do not currently offer gluten-free meal options. Seeing as I’m onto phase 2 of my fructose-free / low FODMAP diet (this involves testing out different foods to see what I can and cannot tolerate), I gave the beef brisket burger a go.

9 hour slow cooked beef brisket & expresso BBQ sauce & rocket

9 hour slow cooked beef brisket & expresso BBQ sauce & rocket

The burger was pretty awesome – it was served in a brioche bun with generous amounts of meat. The beef brisket was tender and flavoursome but there were some slices of meat where they had not rendered off the fat properly. This is only a slight criticism to an awesome Friday lunch.

Seeing as Lonsdale Street Roasters is famous for their coffee, I had to try it out. How adorable is the coffee art!

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Final thoughts: Delicious food & great coffee. Cannot wait to see what more they will offer & hopefully they will expand their menu to cater for dietary needs.

First impression: 7/10

Customer service: 7/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 7/10

Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters on Urbanspoon

Loading Zone

Location: 22 Odgers Lane, Canberra, 2601

Opening hours: Mon – Fri (7.00am – 3.15pm); Sat (8.00am – 2.00pm)

Phone: (02) 6248 6400

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Loading-Zone/261251113992709

Missing Melbourne alittle bit too much these days, I dragged ‘L’ to the Loading Zone for brunch and girl chat time. This café is tucked away in an alleyway and is literally set up…in a loading zone. The Loading Zone only offers outdoor seating but they do have heaters set up.

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Upon arrival, we were quickly seated and our drinks orders were taken. As always, I started off with a skim cappuccino. The coffee was nothing special.

Skim cappuccino ($4)

Skim cappuccino ($4)

I must say the customer service here was exceptional. When informing the waitress of my fructose intolerance, the chef / owner actually came to our table to discuss what dish they could put together for me. Both ‘L’ and I ordered the parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes and bacon.

Parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes & bacon ($17)

Parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes & bacon ($17)

I liked my meal, in particular, the creamy scrambled eggs. I was not a big fan of the bacon and would have preferred if they rendered down the bacon fat.

Final thoughts: Nice homely breakfast options. I am definitely interested in returning to try their lunch menu.

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 9/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 7/10

Loading Zone on Urbanspoon